The Salem Public Library reopens at its Broadway location on Feb. 18. (Saphara Harrell/Salem Reporter)

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The Salem Public Library and west Salem branch library are closed until further notice, the library announced on Twitter Monday morning.

The library is advising people not to return items during the closure. There won’t be any fees for late returns.

Virtual library services are still available and can be found on the library's website.

Librarian Sarah Strahl said the library is following the school district’s guidance and plans to be closed until March 31 and re-evaluate the closure on March 25.

She said the library’s closure was prompted by a new study that showed the virus can live on materials like plastics for several days and a recommendation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Sunday that advised organizations cancel or postpone events that consist of 50 people or more for the next eight weeks.

Strahl said the Broadway location can easily hold 50 people.

“We realize that in the public’s best interest we have to shut our doors,” Strahl said. “I hate making this decision, but I have to do what’s best for the community as a whole.”

Library staff can still come in to work to help provide virtual services to residents, Strahl said.

She said staff will be standing by to answer questions on how to use e-resources and have phone, virtual and email references continuing. 

Have a tip? Contact reporter Saphara Harrell at 503-549-6250, [email protected] or @daisysaphara.